Bees at Fredericton hotel creating a buzz
A rooftop colony at the Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook Hotel is producing honey for guests
Some new guests at the Crowne Plaza Lord Beaverbrook Hotel in downtown Fredericton are creating a buzz.
A colony of bees has been set up on the hotel rooftop and are producing honey for guests.
Stephen Leavitt, a lawyer, who spends his spare time beekeeping, approached the hotel a few months ago with the idea of having a beehive on the roof.
"Urban beekeeping is a frequently practised activity in other urban centres — Vancouver, Paris, London, New York — and I thought it would be an interesting thing to introduce to Fredericton," he said.
Hotel staff were very open to the idea, thinking it was a sweet deal. It's a perfect match for the existing rooftop garden, said general manager Walther Lauffer.
"It's been absolutely amazing," he said. "I come up here quite often to help with the garden and the water, but also to literally watch the bees."
Brent Conlin, the hotel's executive chef, said he anticipates the hive will produce more than 100 pounds of honey.
"We're going to make vinaigrettes, we're going to jar it — anything that calls for honey, we're going to use our own honey, rooftop honey," he said.
An estimated 10 million hives have been decimated in the past six years by colony collapse disorder, which has scientists, such as Chris Maund, worried because bees are essential crop pollinators.
Maund, who is the provincial apiarist, says there have been no reports of colony collapse in Canada yet. But bees here do face other threats, he said.
"Canada's experienced higher than normal overwintering losses ever since the arrival of the Varroa mite back in '87," said Maund.
"There is also a secondary major pest, which is nosema, which is a fungal disease that affects the gut of the honey bee."
The bee decline has had one positive, according to Leavitt. It has led to an upswing in urban beekeeping; a trend he hopes will take off in New Brunswick.
"What we hope to do is, by replacing them and keeping them in urban settings, is to develop a stronger strain of bees that can withstand the pressures of urbanization," he said.